Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Can't Sleep, Might As Well Write

Tonight I can't sleep, but I'm so tired. My mind is riddled with thoughts about where I've been, where I am, and where I'll be. On the edge of sleep still, but my brain just won't let it go, so I've given up trying for now. Coffee will have to fix the problem in the morning.

Though I have missed certain things about Ecuador for the last couple of months, it's starting to really hit now--tonight especially--seemingly out of no where. It could be something simple, like the fact that I miss going to a salsateca and dancing salsa once or twice a week. I'm not even good at it, but it's fun, and as long as you give it a shot, it doesn't matter how bad you are if you're a gringo. Once you get the hang of it, it's a really fun dance.

But no body dances salsa here. That's more of a northern South America thing. You've got to search out the few places that will play salsa for a couple hours a week, and then you need to find someone who will actually go. But salsa is just the tip of the iceberg. I miss other things about Ecuador, things that are harder for me to explain because I can't really put my finger on what they are. I know for sure, and I have my blogs as historical evidence to prove, that romanticizing my time there would only be inaccurate. Times weren't easy for most of the year, and more often than not I questioned why I was there.

Yet there's a feeling you get while being there, a feeling that you're doing something awesome and wholly different that you can be proud of for the rest of your life. I like living in Buenos Aires, but I don't get that same feeling so far. It's probably a combination of a lot of things, but one difference that is always brought up are the people. Locals in other countries are so welcoming and friendly, but many find the Argentinians to be rather cold. Obviously, that's a generalization, but it holds some truth.

My room is dark with the lights off, but the orange street lamps in place of the moon cast a glow through the alley into the curtain-less window. The streets are relatively quiet, and I'm thinking of my bus hijacking. It's been over a year now, but I still see the guy next to me do a 180* and close the curtain, then put his head in his lap. I still hear the gunmen scream, and I feel the same fear as I accepted that I was going to be killed, or kidnapped, or whatever. Then the ease of accepting it for what it is, and later having to accept that it never went through.

I don't miss all of it.

But something has been irking and digging at me for the last few weeks--maybe since I got here--and I'm still not quite sure if I know what it is. Though I'm getting a better idea every day. There might be something inherently wrong about leaving Ecuador for the U.S., and then arriving three weeks later in Argentina and trying to start all over again. How can I long for a place that I spent so long struggling with? Was it a dream or was it actually 11 months that passed by?

Obviously a full day of work didn't wear my mind out enough, and this isn't doing the trick, but the words have been written so they may as well be published. I get the feeling that sooner or later I'll figure out why I'm bothered by this, and when I do understand it, I will have a lot more questions than answers. For now though, it's back to the bed to toss and turn some more.


Sunraez said...

hey, this is rachel from SHS, and I wanted to let you know that i've been following your blogs for quite some time, and appreciate reading about your thoughts - especially regarding traveling, feeling comfortable or not-so-comfortable, questioning of roles and purpose.... I have done quite a bit of traveling myself, and plan to spend a few months in guatemala and mexico this winter/spring, and continuously revisit all of these issues, and like to process through writing as well. anyway, wishing you well and lots of fun adventures (except maybe for bus hijackings....)

Jon said...

Hey Rachel!

Great to hear from you. Thanks for reading along and commenting. I saw a while ago that you follow the blog, but was never actually sure if you read along. It feels like (and has been) years since we talked. I'd love to catch up some time.

You're right though. It helps so much to work it out through writing, or at least to just get the thoughts out of your head and onto paper, so to speak. I'll have to check up on what you've been writing as well.

Good luck in Guatemala and Mexico. Those are two places I'd love to explore. Look me up if you make it this far south.